Dr. Tanya Buhler Corbin

Professor and Department Chair

T Corbin

Dr. Tanya Buhler Corbin holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and M.A. in Public Policy from Claremont Graduate University, and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of New Orleans. Before earning her Ph.D., Dr. Corbin worked in the political, non-profit, and business fields.  Her research agenda is broadly focused on the role of disasters and crises in the policy process, particularly in agenda-setting, and policy change and learning after disasters. Of particular interest in her research are the ways in which disasters affect opportunities for marginalized groups to access and participate in the policy process. Research projects include congressional agenda-setting, policy change, and disaster recovery after Hurricane Katrina, and grant funded community mitigation strategies developed in conjunction with university and community partners. Currently, she is conducting research for a comparative project examining policy change and policy learning after the 2017 hurricane season. At Radford University, Dr. Corbin teaches the Presidency, Congress, Disaster Politics and Policymaking, and other courses as needed, and has co-led study away courses in Washington D.C., and study abroad courses in Cuba.



Dr. Corbin is the recipient of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award. In her teaching, her goal is to create a classroom environment where students develop critical thinking skills that they can apply throughout their lives, and in so doing, foster the development of the citizen, and prepare students for professional careers. Although lectures are essential teaching tools, she emphasizes simulations, debates, and experiential learning to supplement conventional lectures. Developing classroom learning through disaster simulations, mock presidential debates, and complex legislative simulations, Dr. Corbin implements experiential learning exercises in all of her courses. She draws on her work for grassroots campaigns and advocacy for consumer and environmental organizations to prepare students for careers in politics and policy work, creating applied policy projects working in conjunction with local agencies and community partners.


Courses Taught

Disaster Politics and Policymaking

Featured in The Tartan and presented their plans to the Radford City Emergency Operations Plan

This course explores the politics and policy processes related to disasters and crises. A multitude of political issues relating to politics and disasters are considered in this course. In particular, we will explore how disasters and crises affect political leadership, policy agendas and policy change, and intergovernmental relations. We will also consider the ways in which policy advocates and communities participate in the political process when a disaster occurs, and after the crisis or disaster abates. An important component of the course will address questions about the best ways to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters, with particular attention paid to the role of government during these disaster phases. This course prepares students for policy work, and includes primary research, team based work, and simulations.

POSC 320: Congress (See Simulations Here)

This course provides a broad overview of the U.S. Congress. We will study the founders and the political development of the Congress, but will emphasize the contemporary Congress. Specifically, we will examine the members of the House and Senate, including their recruitment, election, and their various roles and activities. We will also consider the legislative process, the role of deliberation in governing, the influence of other political actors on the process, and questions of representation. Finally, we will examine the relations between Congress and the other branches and the bureaucracy, as well as the policymaking functions of Congress. This course features a legislative simulation that spans several weeks.

POSC 321: The Presidency (See Simulations Here)

This course provides an overview of the American presidency and the executive branch. To understand the political development of the institution, we will examine the constitutional origins and development of the executive branch, as well as the modern presidency and current trends and developments. We will use the opportunities the election season to enrich our understanding of presidential campaigns and elections. We will consider the relationships between the Executive Branch and various political actors (e.g. media, public, Congress), and the constraints and powers of the office. The course concludes with an exploration of the President’s various roles, paying particular attention to the domestic and budgetary policymaking process. This course includes either mock presidential debates or primary debates.